Quote by Dana Scully in The X-Files
Dreams are sort of incredible aren’t they? They are fantastical amalgamations of our experiences, wishes, fears, and wonders.
This is why there is wisdom in the suggestion to ‘sleep on it.’ As we sleep our brain works to digest this information, link it up with other information we have stored and come up with a solution, with an idea, and sometimes with an answer to a question we haven’t learned how to ask.
We believe that REM sleep, when we dream, is a primary place that the brain tries to digest traumatic experience. Dreams and talking about what has happened help the incident go from an activating or triggering experience, to just another part of our story.
That is, if our usual information processing system is working correctly. If that system got overwhelmed by the trauma, then this natural way of the brain trying to work things out for itself can manifest in nightmares and dreams in which the trauma is relived.
In EMDR therapy we can actually target dream imagery as well as the actual traumatic events. Dreams are viewed as just another avenue into the neural network where that trauma is stored.